Carola Godman Irvine. Farmer, Campaigner & Columnist. 09-02-22

  • Written by Carola Godman Irvine
  • Posted on Feb 09, 2022
  • Articles

The future of some rural churches could well be at risk. Last November Archbishop Welby, ill advisably likened climate change to the rise of Nazism, although he did later apologies for the comparison.

However, he relentlessly continues to push for net zero by 2030, a far more aggressive drive than that of the Government, which has a target of 2050.

Through his leadership, the Church of England is proposing to ‘cajole’ vicars into replacing traditional church boilers with green alternatives including heat pumps, biomass (not carbon neutral) boilers, or an electric boiler run on renewable electricity. This could push some parishes to the brink, at a time when many are already struggling financially.

The average cost of replacing fossil fuel burning boilers with a heat pump is around £10,000 and running costs at least £200 higher per year. Added to which insulating even a small parish church in a futile effort to make heat pumps efficient, would be unaffordable.

Where would they start? What would these beautiful ancient buildings look like after being thermally clad, and interiors insulated? Probably resembling something out of Disney World.

Mike Foster, CEO of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, applauded the church for trying to tackle climate change, but added: “It is potentially misguided advice. Heat pumps are more expensive to install, more expensive to run, and would be unsuitable in spacious, poorly insulated buildings. My advice to any vicar is to replace what you have got with what you have got”.

This reaffirms increasing concern across society about the cost to ordinary people of carbon-reduction targets.

It is not just farmers who should worry about the rise in the cost of fertiliser, liquid nitrogen, and seeds, now triple, even quadruple in price.

Reading reports of the knock-on effect in the USA and other parts of the world, it is not just in the UK that the potential outcome will be a catastrophic shortage of food.

Joseph Schmidhuber, deputy director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s trade and market divisions, said: “Lower fertiliser use will inevitably affect worldwide food production and quality, impacting on food availability, rural incomes and the livelihoods of the poor.”

In Washington D.C., the shelves are already looking sparse, and residents are instructed to “just buy what you need and leave some for others”.

You cannot grow corn (maize) without a heavy dose of fertiliser, and many US farmers are cutting back substantially on the acres they grow (historically over 60million), when they cannot afford the crippling fertiliser prices.

Many are turning to Soya, a crop which requires less nitrogen, but there is a shortage of soybean seed.

So, with less corn being harvested, animal producers who depend on it being affordable to feed their stock, and shoppers, will see the cost of their end product rise considerably.

Corn is also one of the foundation pillars of our food supply. As noted in the article; ‘if you look at the ingredients of numerous products, you will discover that corn is in just about everything in one form or another’.

It is not just corn and other cereal crops which need nitrogen, so too does coffee grown in South America, and elsewhere. We shall soon be paying much more for our caffe latte.

So, with higher food production costs, governments prioritising the environment, and aiming for net zero by rewilding and planting trees on fertile food producing land, it is hardly surprising there are predictions of worldwide food shortages.

This combined with fuel poverty due the obsession with so called renewable energy, much of which is imported from halfway around the world and unreliable, surely it is time for a reality check on where exactly this is heading. Are governments putting horses before carts, and at what cost to the population?

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